The African Continent

Considered by most scientists to be the origin of mankind, Africa is a continent of 53 independent countries and a rich mix of native peoples, cultures, economies and history. Almost completely encircled by water, it's home to vast deserts, tropical rain forests, rugged mountains and fertile grasslands. Its National Parks, wildlife preserves, and incredible natural beauty attract an ever-increasing number of tourists from around the globe. Yet despite its natural wealth and beauty, Africa includes the fifteen least developed nations in the world, 70% of its population survives on less than $2 a day, disease and famine continue to kill millions of its people each year, and even the most basic education is denied to a large percentage of its children.

Click on the picture to the right to see a larger
map of African countries and their capital cities.

Basic Facts about the African Continent

Continent Size Second largest in the world
Continental Area 11,700,000 square miles
Estimated Population 877 million people
Largest City Cairo, Egypt, 9.2 million people
Largest Country Sudan, 968,000 square miles
Longest River Nile, 4,160 miles
Largest Lake Victoria, 26,828 square miles
Tallest Mountain Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, 19,340 feet

New York Times Quote of the Day for June 2, 2002: "Africa is still the poorest continent in the world, the biggest sufferer of HIV and AIDS, the continent with the most external debts and the least foreign investment. But we are lot more hopeful than we were 5 or 10 years ago." ~ IBRAHIM GAMBARI, United Nations special representative for Africa.


Did you ever eat Ugali? It's on the Table in many African Homes. Here's a recipe!

More Facts about the Countries where Maryknoll Works

What time is it in Africa right now? Click here to find out!

Do You need more maps of Africa? Click here!

Looking for more information about Africa? See our list of Resources for Students

For more detailed information about the African Continent,
visit the Columbia Encyclopedia's Africa Section

Other useful sources of information: The World Factbook &

The map and some of the information on this page have been provided courtesy of
© 1996-2000 by Graphic Maps. Used with permission.